Bless the sounding bells—
The foundry and the furnace,
the partials and the pitch.

The cool bronze of their surface
cast out of molten metal—
a tolling out of reach.

The sheen of verdigris—
its pale protective touch.
The stony campanile

above us standing watch,
whose changes wake or warn us—
The fading fundamental,

like silence after speech,
forgotten as it trails
from each stroke over us—

spectral, subliminal—
waves breaking in the breach. …
Whose promise and what purpose

are carried by the bells
cast out of fire and furnace?
We bless each brazen pitch.

Note: Plain Hunt Singles is a method of English full-circle ringing that requires three bells to be rung in a predetermined order (“ringing the changes”). Here, the rhymes are “rung” in the bell order of this method; the first and final stanzas’ rhymes correspond to the order followed during rounds (repeatedly ringing the bells in sequence from the highest to lowest note).

Yuriy Khymych, The Bell Tower of the Near and Far Caves (Kiev Lavra), 1993. Used by permission.